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Chancellor Merkel also tells Christian Democrats she will not seek re-election as party chairwoman in December.

Spanish police said Thursday they had seized over six tonnes of cocaine hidden in a shipment of bananas and arrested 16 suspects, some of them wanted in the Netherlands.

U.S.-backed Iraqi army units on Wednesday took control of the last major road out of western Mosul that had been in Islamic State's hands, trapping the militants in a shrinking area within the city, a general and residents said.

Russian-backed Syrian government forces and their allies fought their way into Palmyra on Wednesday, driving back Islamic State militants who have held the historic city since December, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported.

A Hezbollah-run media outlet earlier reported that the Syrian army and its allies had recaptured the Palmyra citadel, on the city's western outskirts, and seized a modern palatial complex to the southwest.

Islamic State has captured Palmyra, whose ancient ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, twice during Syria's six-year conflict.

The army recaptured the city from the ultra-hardline group in March last year, but Islamic State seized it again in December.

The group has razed ancient monuments during both of its spells in control of Palmyra - destruction the United Nations has condemned as a war crime.

A Syrian military source told Reuters earlier on Wednesday: "The army's entry to the city will begin very soon."

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following U.S. President Donald Trump's warning that he had put the Islamic Republic "on notice", state TV reported.

It's odd to listen to the news and hear the rants regarding the immorality of building a wall along the US southern border with Mexico.

Thursday Dec 13 was a big day in Washington, although it would be hard to tell from the days headlines. While most are focused on Cohen's sentence and Trump's comments on the ongoing Mueller investigation, there was a hearing looking at the Clinton Foundation and claims of alleged wrongdoing.

Mark Meadows, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, led the hearing, where it was expected to hear testimony from John Huber, who is leading an investigation from Utah.

Meadows told the audience today at the beginning of the hearing that the Department of Justice was unwilling to make John Huber available for the hearing today. Huber was assigned by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions several months ago, to investigate controversies regarding Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.

Two independent investigators spoke at the hearing as did Tom Fitton from Judicial Watch. Lawrence Doyle of DM Income Advisors and John Moynihan of JFM Associates testified before the congressional committee.

Witness John Moynihan and witness Doyle accused the Clinton Foundation of using funding in the Clinton Health Initiative for trips, expenditures for personal use.

The witnesses told the committee they had to send their evidence to the Huber investigation team in Utah three times although it was not clear as to why. They also confirmed they had submitted their documents to the FBI office in Little Rock. Arkansas, and the IRS.

The pair submitted their research to the IRS as whistleblowers, with a possible payday should the Clinton Foundation be found guilty of tax violations. Doyle estimates the taxes owed are between 400 million and as high as 2.5 billion.

It was also stated that they believe there is an active FBI investigation ongoing in Little Rock and under the DOJ in Utah. If true it would explain why Huber did not attend the hearing as he would be unable to comment on an open investigation.

 

Brenda Snipes may be stepping down from her position as Broward County elections supervisor, but that won’t stop her from receiving nearly $11,000 a month in pension benefits, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

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